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From the Archives: The H. Willard Good Papers


The following post comes to us from Erin Krause ‘16. Erin has been employed in the Hess Archives since January 2015 as a student assistant, and has helped us with a variety of projects, including the processing of the papers of H. Willard Good. This collection was transferred to the new Archives from the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies and is just one of many powerful collections preserved and made available for research in the Hess Archives.

The college archive has uncovered a plethora of information hidden within its depths-hundreds of letters from the time of World War II. A local member of the Church of the Brethren, Willard Good, wrote and received these letters during his time as a passive objector from 1944 to 1946. These letters not only give us insight into the everyday life of this time but also detail the conditions of the civilian public service camps where Willard Good spent much of his time during the war.

Many of the letters were kept in excellent condition over the years by Willard himself. Most of the letters are from Willard’s friends and family. They express concerns for Willard and tell him of everything happening in the world while he was working at the Civilian Public Service Camp. Many of the letters contain newspaper clippings about the war and the Church of the Brethren, giving the readers of these letters an understanding of what exactly was occurring in the 1940s. Not only do the letters contain newspaper clippings, but a few also enclose documents from the time such as food stamps, train tickets, life insurance papers, and tax forms. The Elizabethtown College Archives now possess many forms and paperwork from World War II.

The true gold mine, however, is the correspondence between Willard Good and his wife, Pauline McKenzie. The letters that Willard sent Pauline are filled with intricate details of his time traveling and his time working at civilian public service camps. Here we are able to read a firsthand account of the food they ate, the religions the workers practiced, the struggles that the workers experienced, and the conditions of the camps. Readers of the letters are also able to learn about the love story between Willard Good and his wife, Pauline McKenzie, which is intermixed among all the facts. The letters start out when the two were courting and continues through their marriage. The letters tell us of her concern for him, their disagreements over everyday matters such as money and taxes, and ultimately their love.

These letters offer us an incredible insight into what life was like during World War II. With Elizabethtown College having such strong connections to the Church of the Brethren, it is important to understand the Church’s history. Willard Good was a dedicated member of the Church of the Brethren, and reading about his struggles and life during World War II is important for us to understand another side of history. This collection of letters is a wonderful addition to the Hess Archives, and one that will continue to help researchers and students learn throughout the years to come.


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Summer Reading


Summer is right around the corner, do you have your summer reading list ready? Time off from school and work means that you might finally find time to catch up on the new hot book series or to covertly read your favorite guilty pleasure. What’s better than a great book on a hot day?

In addition, don’t forget to check out the summer reading programs at your local library (for your kids or for you!). According to the American Library Association, summer reading programs can generate interest in the library and books and can also encourage a lifelong habit of reading.

Whether it’s eBooks on your Kindle or paperbacks from the library, from sci-fi to romance to YA or graphic novels, the suggestions below will help you fill your beach bag and will keep you entertained all summer long!

Happy reading!

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April Display Highlight: Don Kraybill at Elizabethtown College

Kraybill c. 1971

April’s featured display on level 2 of the High Library, “Understanding the Riddle”, focuses on Dr. Donald Kraybill’s distinguished career at Elizabethtown College, and includes a variety of images from the Hess Archives of Kraybill as well a selection of his many books. Don, the foremost expert on Old Order Amish culture, first began teaching sociology at Elizabethtown in 1971 and has also served as Director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies as well as Interim Provost.

Kraybill today

Dr. Kraybill is retiring from teaching this year, and the college community is celebrating his dedication to research and engaged student learning by honoring him as this year’s SCAD (Scholarship and Creative Arts Day) lecturer. The lecture will take place on Monday, April 20th from 7:30-9 pm in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center.

Please enjoy the display and help us congratulate Don on his remarkable career at Elizabethtown.

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Global Film Thursday …The Gods Must be Crazy

Join us Thursday night at 7PM in Gibble for our final Global Feel Good film of the 2014-2015 series

Join us Thursday night at 7PM in Gibble for our final Global Feel Good film of the 2014-2015 series

Nearly every scene in The Gods Must Be Crazy is funny and evokes instant laughter and where it doesn’t, Xi livens it up with his innocent smile and candour.

Kalahari bushman Xi (played by genuine bushman N!xau) is as surprised as the rest of his tribe when a Coke bottle, thrown from a passing plane, lands in the middle of their village. This “gift from the gods” proves to be a mixed blessing when the tribesmen fight over it and eventually use it for a weapon. To keep peace in the village, Xi is assigned to take the bottle to “the end of the earth” (actually a lush valley) and throw it back to the gods. Meanwhile, back in urbanized South Africa, Kate Thompson (Sandra Prinsloo) leaves her office job in the city to take a job teaching Kalahari children; once in the wilderness, she finds herself constantly bumping into clumsy microbiologist Andrew Steyn (Marius Weyers). And meanwhile, maniacal Sam Boga (Louw Verwey) is leading a military coup against the government. How do all these various and wildly divergent characters fit together? You’ll have to see The Gods Must be Crazy yourself–if you haven’t seen it already. This Botswanian comedy/melodrama was directed by Jamie Uys, who had helmed dozens of films before Gods and would make many more afterwards. Originally slated for limited domestic distribution in 1982, Gods Must Be Crazy was picked up for American consumption by 20th Century-Fox in 1984. Within a few weeks, “word of mouth” transformed Gods into the biggest foreign box office hit ever released in the U.S. 

The film will screen at 7PM in Gibble – please join us to find out how Xi gets that bottle back to the Gods.

This film is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Office of International Student Services and the High Library.


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Priscilla @Etown

1994 doesn't get any better than Priscilla

1994 doesn’t get any better than Priscilla

What does The Matrix, ABBA, 1994 and Australia all have in common? Priscilla Queen of the Desert is driving into Etown this week for the Global Film Festival.

driving into Gibble at 7PM on Thursday

driving into Gibble at 7PM on Thursday

Priscilla is the 1994 feel good movie that delighted international audiences with cheeky over-the-top humor, panache, pathos, winning performances, and fun soundtracks. Priscilla heavily features the music of ABBA (Australia has long had a particular love-affair with the Scandinavian quartet) and stars Hugo Weaving (of Matrix fame), Terence Stamp (of Wall Street, Superman II ) and Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential) as three drag queens cut from the cloth of everyday and who take on the road trip of their lives. What we see though through their travels is that sexuality is not a cut-and-dried affair. Underneath it all, we see that these people aren’t much different from those we meet in our daily lives. As one reviewer noted, “A screening of ‘Priscilla’ would do more good than a hundred lectures to high school kids on the acceptance of diversity.

Hope you come and enjoy a great night and a promise that you will leave feeling great!

Movie screens at 7PM in Gibble … and please tell … or better yet… BRING a friend!